FirstVoltInGeorgia.com



in Inman Park Festival parade

(this always gets a cheer)

at a Beltline walk, Jan 2011
Time for a roadtrip! July 2012, 300+ miles.

western North Carolina

at the Lake Chatuge dam

efficiency report after getting back home

a TVA solar array!

at Georgia Tech Earth Day 2012

at Georgia Tech Earth Day 2012

car show, Midtown, Jun 2012

car show, Midtown, Jun 2012

at the Georgia alt fuel roadshow (w/ PSC chairman Tim Echols),
Suniva Inc. Norcross stop, Jun 2012 (yes that's a Fisker Karma)

at the ribbon cutting
in Woodstock GA for a
huge solar canopy with
EV charging station, May 2011

lining up with about
a DOZEN EVs at the
July 4th parade in Dunwoody

at Georgia Tech Earth Day 2011

at Georgia Tech EV club

a rare visit to the gas station,
a couple times a year

at a public charger in
a Midtown Atlanta parking
deck, June 2011

at the state line, Dec 2010
(click any photo to enlarge / download)

Hi, I'm Chris and I live in Atlanta. Since December 2010 I have been enjoying my Chevy Volt, the first in the state of Georgia.

The Volt is one of the first of a new generation of electric vehicles (EVs). It runs for 35 miles pure electric, charged up at home overnight via a regular 120V outlet. For longer road trips a gasoline generator ("range extender") kicks in to go another 300 miles, and you can fuel up at gas stations just like in a regular car. I've taken it on 1000+ mile trips, and it does just fine on those, but where it really shines is in regular daily commuting when it's in pure electric mode. I like to say that the first 35 miles every day are FREE and FUN!

I'm getting over 100 miles per gallon, and my electric bill has gone up only a little bit.

As one of the first cars in the oncoming wave of electric vehicles, I want to show off this new technology as much as possible. We're are now witnessing a revolution in transportation technology, and the Volt is a key part of that revolution. However, there are enormous misconceptions about this car and EV technology in general, and I've made it my mission to help fix that, by putting actual hardware in front of people and explaining all this new technology to anyone who's interested.

NOTE: As of April 2013 I'm starting to migrate activity to my new website, www.ElectrifyAtlanta.com. There you will find more information about EVs in general, not just the Volt. I'm still putting the site together, but already you can find my new summary sheet that describes the EVs now on the market. Take a look!


You're curious (or confused) about EVs and just want to learn the basics?

Here is some background material ...

I created a fact sheet (PDF, 54 kB) -- the first page explains the basics of electric vehicles, and the second page goes into the specifics of the Chevy Volt. If you do nothing else here, grab this PDF and look at it later.

WREK has a weekly radio show called Inside The Black Box ("science, only funnier!"). Hosted by GT professor (and comedian) Pete Ludovice, each week he tackles a new topic in science and technology. I've been on the show twice, first in 2012 where we romped through the basics of EVs, and then again in 2013 when I provided an update on the EV market and talked about the high-performance side of EVs ("smoking tires"). Each of those links takes you directly to the mp3 file, which you can either listen to online now, or download and listen later. Try to listen to this and NOT get excited about this stuff!

Finally, a few entertaining links:


You're going to test drive a Volt?

Great! During your drive, please be sure to try out "Sport Mode" -- find the "Sport Mode" button on the console and press it twice (watch the display in front of the steering wheel as you press it). Sport mode makes the Volt more quick to accelerate and a lot more fun to drive!

A lot of people (including journalists) have taken the Volt for a test drive and come away underwhelmed by the power. They didn't realize that, by default, the Volt runs in a lazier performance mode, what GM calls "Normal" mode. Put it into Sport mode and have some fun! It's still ridiculously efficient.

The Chevy salesman with you likely will not even know about this Sport mode feature. If you've done a lot of research, then in general you need to be prepared for dealing with salesmen that know less than you. It's very new technology to them too.


You're a new Volt owner?

Congratulations and welcome to the future! Here are a few things that I recommend all new Volt owners take a look at:

For charging, you can easily get by with just using the 120 Volt ("Level 1") cord that came with the car, and I did exactly that for the first 9 months with my Volt. So you don't need to get anything more than that. However, for faster charging (useful on weekends) you should consider installing a 240 Volt ("Level 2") charger near where you park your car at home. Unfortunately, I personally recommend against the SPX chargers that GM endorses -- in the early days we heard a lot of grief from people who had to deal with them (it may be better now). Instead, spend a little extra and get a Clipper Creek charger (like the compact LCS-25) from a local distributor like Metro Plugin (no kickback for me, but tell Greg I sent you!). They will also get you in touch with an electrician who will already be familiar with the installation process, which often includes pulling a city permit for the outdoor circuit.

Again, though, you don't need to get a Level 2 charger. If you don't get one, I do recommend that you at least get an extra Level 1 charger, just like the one you got with the car. Keep one at your house (garage) and keep one in the car for show-and-tell or using when convenient. It's good to have a backup unit, because if you only have one cord, and it stops working (which has happened to some of us), suddenly you may have no way to charge up!

Good luck!


The Volt was originally launched in late 2010 in several key markets (NY, DC, LA, etc) and wasn't going to be available for purchase in Georgia until late 2011. I couldn't wait that long, so I placed my order with a dealer in the Washington DC area back in July 2010 as soon as GM started accepting orders. I took delivery from the dealer just before Christmas 2010, and promptly demonstrated its long-distance capabilities by driving it back from DC to Atlanta.

I would be happy to answer any questions -- just contact me. We can even meet up and go for a drive if you want. Contact info is below.

Chris
404-849-5232 (either voice call or text message is fine)
FirstVoltInGeorgia@pobox.com (checked about once a day)